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Ground covers

Though best known for blackberries and raspberries (see those entries for information about edibles), the brambles include many ornamental plants as well, most of them thornless. The species described here differ from blackberries and raspberries not only in their lack of prickles but also in having perennial rather than biennial stems. Spring flowers are followed by small, edible berries that attract birds.

These need good drainage and spread widely by rhizomes. Plant groundcover types about 2 ft. apart.

Rubus deliciosus

Deciduous. Native to Rocky Mountains in New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. Graceful, arching plant to 3–5 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide. Bright green, lobed, nearly round leaves. White, 2–3-in.-wide flowers resemble single roses. Dark purple berries.

Rubus rolfei

Evergreen. Native to the mountains of Taiwan. Thickly foliaged stems spread at a moderate rate to form a dense carpet to 1 ft. high. Rounded leaves have three to five broad, ruffled-edged lobes; upper surfaces are lustrous dark green and rough textured, undersides are grayish white and felted. Small white flowers look like strawberry blossoms, are followed by salmon-colored berries. ‘Emerald Carpet’ has superior foliage that turns raspberry red with the onset of cool autumn nights. Plant spreads 5 ft. in 3 years; makes a durable groundcover for sun or partial shade.


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